Revealing history of the bikini

Summer is the perfect opportunity to show off those curves in a hot little number. Photo / Thinkstock
Summer is the perfect opportunity to show off those curves in a hot little number. Photo / Thinkstock

The bikini has had a long run - 65 years to be exact - and it still has a way of making women worry about their figure before the hot January and February days.

Many women often start diets and going to extra workout sessions to get the perfect bikini figure long before even taking out their skimpy swimming suit.

Even though the bikini demands a lot from women who wear one, love for the two-piece suit has been uninterrupted in its six and a half decades. It continues to be the most popular bathing suit and this year a bikini made with the help of a computer has caused a stir.

The bikini comes in many colours and styles from the monokini and the trikini to the tankini and the mixkini. This year's computer-aided sensation, which is sure to go down in fashion history, is customized to fit perfectly.

Instead of trying the bikini on in a changing room, a scanner is used to measure the customer's body and the computer processes the data to suggest the ideal cut.

The result is a bikini made of thousands of nylon discs in different sizes that fit the body's curves optimally.

Though two-piece swimming suits for women date back to the Romans, its birth in modern fashion history was recorded on July 5, 1946 in the now abandoned Piscine Molitor, a swimming complex located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.

Immediately after World War II it was a popular place to relax, and it was there that fashion designer Louis Reard sent model Micheline Bernadini onto a runway wearing nothing but four triangularly shaped pieces of fabric - two for the top and two for the bottom.

It struck the fashion world like a bomb and in fact took its name from the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean where just a few days prior to the fashion show at the Molitor the US had tested an atomic bomb. The public outrage the swimsuit unleashed was comparable with that caused by the atom bomb tests.

The bikini remained scandalous for a long time and was banned in many swimming pools. Marilyn Monroe posed in a bikini in 1953, the same year Brigitte Bardot caused a furore in a pink-checked bikini in Cannes.

But that exposure ultimately led the skimpy two-piece suit into a shadowy existence. It was viewed as an immoral lapse and did not correspond with the fashion dictates of the '50s when covering women's curves with a one-piece suit was held up as model swimming attire.

The bikini was written off as dead until the sexual revolution in the '60s. It became more popular after Ursula Andress wore one in the 1962 James Bond movie Dr No and was finally accepted when Paco Rabanne made a revealing version out of plastic in 1966. But it was still forbidden in some swimming pools as late as 1968.

Sometimes made from a little less material, sometimes more, but in any case no summer would be the same without the bikini.


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